Bus clash after rider refuses to use mask

Top News | Michael Shum and Cindy Wan 17 Feb 2020

A verbal dispute erupted between a man and fellow bus passengers after he refused to wear a mask, arguing he was not ill.

The incident occurred on a route 271 bus that runs between Tai Po and the West Kowloon Station of the high speed rail in Jordan.

An online video shows a man boarding the bus without a face mask at night, upon which the bus driver advises him to put one on while handing him a mask.

But the man refuses, telling the driver to get the bus going since company regulations do not stipulate that all passengers should wear a mask.

Other passengers, the video shows, express support for the driver, and they verbally tussle with the man for some 10 minutes. Police are later called to the scene.

Meanwhile, Hospital Authority chairman Henry Fan Hung-ling said there's "a glimpse of hope" for public hospitals purchasing medical equipment.

"Just like everyone else, my management colleagues and I have joined the fight for masks recently. But what's different is the amount we fight for - not eight or 10 boxes - but millions of masks and personal protective equipment," he wrote on his blog.

Purchasing medical products is not an easy task given anti-allergy protection, ventilation and material requirements, Fan wrote.

"Benevolent people from the business and welfare sectors, patients' organizations, local shops and students have donated masks, helped contact factories in remote countries and sent my colleagues warm words of care," he wrote.

Separately, the government brushed off claims that the police force had deprived other government departments of N95 respirators. The number of respirators they received reportedly exceeded those of other departments, including the Department of Health.

This came as local reports suggested that police got hold of 14,000 N95 respirators, more than those obtained by the food and environmental hygiene, health, and fire services departments.

A spokesman defended the force, criticizing a media outlet of picking on police.

The force was allocated the most number of masks or respirators as it has the most number of employees compared to other disciplinary forces and departments, he said.

The government stressed that officers have been helping with anti-epidemic work, so allocating respirators to them would also safeguard people's health.

Police also said they kept stock of mask sufficient for seven days of use.

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